On Wednesday, a coalition of over 40 homophobic hate groups got together to run an ad in USA Today urging the Boy Scouts of America to continue discriminating against gay people. (I'm not sure if "homophobic hate groups" is the preferred term, BTW. I think they call themselves "family protection superhero squads" or something. Whatever.)
As I'm sure you know, the Boy Scouts of America are in the process of reviewing a policy that forbids gays from joining their club. In the year 2013. The ad presents a list of 42 organisations who want all concerned parents to call the Scouts and ask them to keep their rules the old, mean way.
Looking down the list of "undersigned organisations" in the ad, I'd heard of a few of them. Like the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America. But the majority were new to me and seemed to have been named by picking buzzwords like "family", "America", "foundation", "values", etc. out of a hat.
I decided to call them to try and find out what they're all about. Here's a breakdown of what happened:
Twenty actually answered the phone:
They were: Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, Christian Civic League of Maine, New Yorker's Family Research Foundation, Kansas Family Policy Council, Liberty Counsel, Texas Values, Centre for Arizona Policy, Citizens for Community Values, Illinois Family Institute, Louisiana Family Forum, Wisconsin Family Action, American Values, American Family Research Council, Massachusetts Family Institute, New Jersey Family Policy Counci, Palmetto Family Alliance, Public Interest Institute, Family Policy Council of West Virginia, Florida Family Policy Council.
Fourteen went to an answering machine:
They were: Centre For Military Readiness, The Family Leader, American Family Association, Family Institute of Connecticut, Family Council, The Oak Initiative, Family Foundation of Virginia, New Hope Foundation, American Civil Rights Union, PFOX, Cornerstone Action, Alaska Family Action, Bott Radio Network's Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty.
Four had no phone number available online:
They were: High Impact Leadership Coalition, Patriot Voices, Ohio Faith and Freedom Coalition, International Communion of Evangelical Churches.
Two had no website:
They were: Psalm 103 Foundation, ReAL Action.
One had had their phone disconnected:
It was: Media Research Centre (you might wanna get that figured out, guys).
One had a website that was under construction:
It was: Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
Which means that, out of the 42 organisations, less than half of them are large enough to have someone employed to answer their fucking phone. And, of those that did answer, almost none of them were willing to talk to me "on the record". Each time I asked a question, I'd either be referred to their website or put on hold while they checked what the acceptable answer was. Presumably because they know their arguments are so flimsy they can't be argued in real time.
Obviously, if you can't get your shit together enough to have one person working for you who can answer your phone, you are in no position to lend authority to anything. I'm pretty sure you can't even call yourself an "organisation". You have to be organised to qualify as an organisation. And, if you have a staff of zero, that just makes you some dude with a website and an answering machine.
Case in point: Here is a screencap of the website of the International Communion of Evangelical Churches, which is one of the 41 "organisations" listed in the ad:
It's a fucking Facebook page. With 132 likes. I've had profile pictures with more likes than that.
Nice coalition of organisations, guys. Fellow gays, I don't think we have much to be worried about here.
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @JLCT
Some more homophobes: